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How a Laser Beam Could Quadruple the Speed of the Internet


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Electronic component lasers.

A new kind of laser could quadruple the bandwidth of the fastest fiber-optic networks, according to researchers at the California Institute of Technology.

Credit: Barta IV

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers say they have developed a new kind of laser that can quadruple the bandwidth on the fastest fiber-optic networks.

"Our first-run lasers, fabricated at Caltech, are capable of a 4x increase in the number of bytes-per-second carried by each channel," says Caltech professor Amnon Yariv. "This number will increase with our continuing work, but even at this level, the economic advantages are very big."

He says the new laser is an improvement over conventional lasers because it operates closer to a single frequency than any other yet created, and the purity of the beam allows it to carry more data. However, the breakthrough is not likely to benefit individual Internet users because they are limited by the plan they have purchased from their Internet service providers (ISPs).

Nevertheless, dramatically expanding the rate at which data can be routed through the Internet to the ISPs could have implications for companies that stream a lot of data and it could help pave the way to smarter homes.

From The Washington Post
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